Friday, January 20, 2012

The Hitch on the Finger Armor

Ok...so here's the deal....the release of my tutorial is on hold.
Why? You ask.
Yes, it's ready to go and I got up to find a note telling me I have infringed someone's copyright....and now a threat to sue me.

Now this is a story that goes back two plus years.
When I first started beading I frequented a beading forum and there was a loomer/beader who posted a picture of a very pretty (but for me overly feminine) two section ring. It triggered a memory for me of a design I'd done a few years earlier when I was heavily into chain maille.   Being a kind of fiesty, costuming gal I was interested in jewelry based on armor just as I had made clothes out of chain maille.  And I had designed some finger armor based on gauntlets.



And something else that I had come across in my foray into armor...the arm wraps....look familiar?


So....as you can see...my research led me to seeing that a hinge was needed to create the design I had in mind. I didn't get past the design stage and in all honesty I wasn't bead weaving at the time so hadn't thought of doing them in a technique I didn't know existed.  And it wasn't till seeing this gal do something with the basic idea in bead weaving that my memory was triggered.  I dug out my old design sketch book....and I had even drawn up a pattern for the finger armor. I got to work translating my original pattern into beadwork and posted my pictures in the forum.
She had a problem. Even though, as everyone said, mine looked completely different, different style, different look.  This gal said she was patenting all bead woven rings that covered more than one section of the finger....and then asked me how I hinged mine, because it looked different from her technique and she'd like to include MY technique in HER patent!!!!!  WTF?

Anyway, it was a huge thing on the forum with most people feeling she couldn't create a patent like that....that it would be like trying to own the rights to fabric arm coverage...sleeves.  A few legal people wrote me in support telling me to go forward....but I didn't push it.  

Since then....multiple jointed rings have really come to be quite common with Beyonce's hand jewelry being right up their in the lead.  Notice those hinged joints :)


And here are just a few of the armor inspired multiple section rings out there.





Now....what about bead weaving, you say?
Well....in the years since this all started I've seen a few people do multiple joint coverage with bead weaving...I know Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, who I actually met through all of this, did a combination bracelet and full finger coverage piece. Recently Sabine Lippert did a beautiful multiple joint ring.
But apparently I'm the only one being sued.

So....sorry folks I cannot release the tutorial today.
But.....I am thinking that I might release a couple of ring tutorials and maybe a tutorial on creating hinges in beadwork :)


11 comments:

  1. You have got to be kidding me?!

    Any respect I had for this person has just dropped to the floor! I have never heard of such a bitchy, catty, nasty and negative thing to do to someone.

    I say go for it and let her try to sue you. This is a lawsuit that you will win...even though it is a huge pain in the ass!

    But I would be very vocal about this and let the beading world know what is going on here...this is utterly absurd!

    One person cannot own an idea for a piece of jewelry. She did not come up with the idea for this...it has been around much longer than any of us!

    I am so angry right now but I don't want to do or say anything that would get you into further "trouble" with this insecure person.

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  2. Thanks Tia :) It's fine, I'm laughing through the whole thing. There are a few things that are uniquely mine and stand alone....Firstly, how I attach a cab...there's a trick I share. Secondly, the hinge. And third, the shaping.
    These are all individual things I can publish.

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  3. patenting a hinge is like trying to patent the wind. I'd be surprised if she has succeeded in receiving a patent. there are several different types of patents. the more all-encompassing is a "design" patent.
    if you know a friendly lawyer, the first thing to do is to find out whether/what exactly she has patented ... the patent will have to describe the exact hinging method she is using.
    if you need to prove that your hinging method is different (and if you still had that forum post where she asked you for your hinging method that would be really sweet!), you'll have all the data you need.
    but really, as your multiple examples have proven, a "hinge" is a public domain technique. think of all the common hardware applications, from doors to dishwashers, which could be caught if there were a patent on a basic hinge!
    I agree with Tia's comment ... probably the less discussed on a public site the better, especially if she really comes after you. then we'll go private via FB mail, email, texting or whatever to offer you support and ideas.
    Mary Alexander

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  4. you may want to hold off on releasing a tutorial about creating a hinge in beadwork. she may try to sweep this info into her patent, if she has one.
    Mary Alexander

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  5. Dear Mikki, so sorry to read about all this, it's not the first time I hear this kind of stories of beaders rather keen on sueing fellow beaders, unfortunately ! as if you needed all that sh....For what it's worth, you've got all my moral support, you're a true artist and you don't need to steal other's ideas !
    Kind regards,
    Ingrid

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  6. Hi Mikki,

    I know that Kate McKinnon is doing multiple finger rings too, maybe look at her work as well. Seems this woman has a suit without merit.

    Good thoughts for you from Pam Maxfield

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  7. Thanks everyone...I am so not fazed or worried. If she wants to claim rights to something like that I'll work around it so I don't infringe no matter how ridiculous I think she is.
    I'd quit doing them but as I'd seen lots of other people doing them and I kept being asked for a tutorial I figured now was a good time. Wonder if Kate is getting sued :)

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  8. Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose.

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  9. Monsanto makes beaded jewelry?

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  10. Mikki,
    I read your blog and was sorry to see this happening to you. Some folks are just *****.
    Anyway, I hope things end up best for you.

    ~cryssT

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